Friday, September 19, 2014

lots of big names, but our hearts were lifted HIGH {cava, moriah peters, urban rescue, rend collective}

we had quite the night out this past wednesday night.
it wasn't convenient or easy. but we bought tickets and lined up pat's parents to watch the three younger boys MONTHS ago.
i ended up having to miss rebekah's back to school nite. rebekah missed youth group. joshua missed football practice. pat's dad practically had to take a 1/2 day at work to get out to our house in time for us to leave. it was a sacrifice in lots of ways. but i fully believe that you have to fight through that sometimes...in the end it will be worth it! and IT WAS!

pat and i took rebekah, joshua and bailey out to dinner {my FAVE place right now. they've heard me RAVE about it, so i thought this would be a good time to let them see what it was all about. it's like chipotle. but with greek food. and it's AMAZING!} 
then we headed to the concert. my dad introduced me to rend collective (back when they were rend collective experiment) with "build your kingdom here"...a couple years ago. they are a Christian group from Ireland and have such a FUN, unique sound. when you listen (or watch) they are just having FUN! and i like fun :-)

so...they had a new album come out a few months ago. which i promptly bought and could sing every word to every song within days. and one day i decided to search and see if they did concerts...and might ever be close enough to see in person? listening to them makes you want to SEE it performed. well...it said they were coming to our area!! to a church! but i couldn't find out how to buy tickets. so i was the random stalker-type person that emailed the CHURCH and asked how to get tickets. they were so kind and responded to creepy-me (!) and told me the tickets weren't available yet but to watch the facebook page. THEN...when they WERE available - THEY emailed ME to let me know! amazing. long story to get to how we got there, but there you go :-) so. we bought tickets. and made it happen. i was GIDDY for days before. so so excited. i KNEW it was going to be good! but the rest of my family? i don't think they were so sure. pat is always neutral until proven otherwise. rebekah and joshua weren't sure this was better than what they were missing. and bailey was worried about being up so late.
we saw some friends there - which was FUN! AND my parents were there - super fun! (esp cause my dad is the one that introduced them to me in the first place!)

ok. ok. enough about US!
so i didn't really think about or realize the face that there were people opening up for rend until we got there. then, in all honesty, i was kinda annoyed. i just wanted to hear THEM! and there were 2 people singing before them!

well. this girl was the first one. MORIAH PETERS. she busts out on stage with the most stunning smile and spirit. i'm certain i was smiling during her ENTIRE performance. she was ADORABLE. and the most AMAZING role model for my girls to watch. her outfit? SO modest. yet FUN and CRAZY! sequined pants. fishnet shirt under a shirt that says, "BRAVE", hightop shoes, a button up shirt tied around her waist, and a winter hat that she eventually took off and gave to someone in the audience. i ADORED her.
her music? also totally surprised me. i'm usually a "chris tomlin" kinda girl. maybe with some country music thrown in if i'm feeling super happy and "free." well, she comes out ROCKING IT OUT...SUPER loud. but you could HEAR EVERY WORD and EVERY WORD was FILLED WITH TRUTH. {are you picking up on the fact that i wasn't annoyed anymore?} i just can't say enough about this girl. she oozed HIM. period.
not to mention the fact that in the 3 songs she performed, she played a dozen instruments (not exactly. but she played quite a few! she is SUPER talented!)

her message and heart were so beautiful and clear. we bought her album and have listened to it non-stop since we got it.
so then urban rescue performed. they were also really good. pat and joshua liked them a lot. i was still just in awe of moriah...

but check them out, too! they had such a heart for Him. and were super nice when the kids asked for a picture with the main singer!
and then...REND COLLECTIVE! i knew it would be good. but it.was.incredible.
a few seconds into their first song, a TON of confetti shoots into the air...i SO wish i had gotten a picture of bailey's face. it was PRICELESS. but i will NEVER forget it.
it was so so good. i'm finding it hard to find the words. so much energy. they are hysterical.
bubbles...
it's all about HIM. they believe in CELEBRATING and JOY but not in THEIR name...in HIS. and it was evident. at the end of the concert...you are left singing the last few words (all the words to all the songs were up on the wall behind them...so you could sing along! you know. if you didn't already KNOW all the words ;-)) and you look up after the last word...and they are all gone. empty stage. last note echoing and it's just YOU and HIM. they laid you at HIS feet.
if you can get to one of their concerts (they just started this tour a week ago...and they are all OVER the country between now and the end of october)...GO! you will be SO blessed!

pat, rebekah, joshua and bailey all agreed that it was amazing and worth the sacrifices we had to make to be there. what a sweet night for us to experience together!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

life lately

this is going to be all over the place. but isn't that life?

this guy. he's the one that will just go off by himself when he needs to. i found him at the dollhouse one afternoon in the midst of all the chaos...just playing quietly. i can relate ;-)
i eat a salad for lunch and dinner pretty much every day of my life. different stuff on it. but i LOVE salads. one day last week i just didn't want a salad for dinner. and this sounded good. not quite paleo...but still pretty healthy and FRESH tasting! rice cake with avocado, cucumber and feta cheese.
joshua and levi watching lincoln and sawyer's football practice. my heart grew a little bit when i saw this random act of love from joshua to levi.
i'm a pretty disciplined person. (ha! those that know me are rolling their eyes.) so reading the Bible has been a part of my daily life for decades. but there are seasons...seasons where it seems to not quite hit the mark...and seasons where you just can't get enough.

i'm in one of those "can't get enough" seasons and i LOVE them. when my alarm goes off in the morning, i HOP out of bed to open that Book and see what He is going to fill me with before i start my day. it doesn't mean HE is any more present right now than in those silent seasons. i'm just choosing to embrace and be grateful for every day of this season.

for the last few months, i've been using this website, she reads truth, as a guide. they have previously gone through books of the Bible...and right now it's a study on just OPENING your Bible. you can get an app, use the website, or get an email sent to you every morning (that's what i do). it's really good stuff. and gets me in the Word and i usually keep going on my own!
we started science this week in school :-) i'm really, truly enjoying the schooling part of all this.
but there is some hard, hard stuff going on in my heart. between the conference last weekend, and adjusting to our new "normal" with homeschool/public school, and just other JUNK that i'm trying to work through, there have been a LOT of tears and frustrated prayers and struggling to find JOY.

BUT. He is with me.
He is good.
He is faithful.
and i KNOW He has called me to this right now. every bit of it. and there is comfort in that. 
He will be with me through it all.
it's not easy. but it's where He has me.

sawyer had to do a timeline of his life so far. going back to having to leave him for 3 weeks...and being reunited (and the emotions of those first months!) was HARD.
this kid. he's pretty amazing. very quiet. but thoughtful. last night he asked (ASKED!) if he could make "special water" for everyone for dinner. he spent a GOOD 20 minutes putting salt on the rims (ha! he's watched me enjoy some margarita's ;-)) and cutting lemons to put on the edge. he even let me take his picture and gave me permission to blog about it...
i know what he's asking for for christmas ;-)
walked in the door at 6:30 this morning from my run to this sight...oh, you know, just doing a core workout. ??
we keep all the kids socks on top of the dryer. in buckets. it's right by the kitchen/garage/shoe buckets and makes more sense than all the way up in their rooms. well, it's levi's job to get the socks IN the buckets after they are washed. people were missing LOTS of socks. and we realized that he was THROWING them in the buckets (and missing...and they were all BEHIND the dryer.) so he did some rescue work for us :-)
so, that's life lately. lots to be thankful for. lots to learn.

empowered to connect

pat and i were at a conference this past friday and saturday. it's amazing how much being gone for 2 days effects my life! it's been nearly a week since i've been able to sit down and document things around here! and i haven't touched my camera once. lots of phone pics.

the conference was a couple YEARS in the making.
our adoption and orphan care ministry at our church contacted Empowered to Connect a LOONG time ago and asked if they might consider doing a conference in our area. they are THE experts on adoption and how to navigate children "from hard places" and most of their conferences are nowhere near us.

well. they responded and asked to see OUR church for their location. it was a crazy long process. they flew here to check it out. lots of paperwork and meetings (that i didn't do...another member of our team took that on and did an AWESOME job.) long story short. they chose us and we (our elders had to approve it) chose them.

so 800+ people came to this conference at our church this past friday and saturday. there were people from ALL over. we live in virginia...people came from south carolina, louisiana, pennsylvania...it was amazing!
i was worried going into the weekend about sitting so long. i have a hard time sitting for a whole movie, and the conference was from 9 am-5 pm both days. ha! i think we sat for 45 minutes MAX. we were all over the place...parking people, making coffee (i'm not a coffee drinker. but, WOW, people are CRAZY about their coffee!), prepping snacks/water for the morning and afternoon, prepping lunch for those that purchased lunch, emptying trash, and my FAVORITE part was greeting people at the doors every morning and after every break!
it was a blast. working alongside this team of people that have a heart for the orphan AND for the parents that are walking that road.

i got to see dear friends (ali!) that came and met friends in person that i've known online for YEARS (allison! our kids are from the same orphanage in rwanda!)
we also learned some really great stuff. the content of the conference is invaluable. lots to process. we bought the cd's to listen to all that we missed...which we hope to do soon.

this conference should not just be for adoptive families. it should be for ALL parents...and even anyone working with children. i found myself thinking about one of our biological kids more than lincoln and levi!

and where were our kids?? my parents watched them. stayed at our house and took them to football games and picked apples and just LOVED on them. they all had a BLAST. they even let us stay out longer on saturday night so pat and i could go on a date! what a GIFT it is to have such amazing parents that are willing and GLAD to do that for us! (and 2 sets! pat's parents are equally as willing and able!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

more than what our eyes can see

{i'm not at the beach again. just wishing :-)}

"But it's too wonderful!" Abraham said. "How can it be true?"
"Is anything too good to be true?" God asked. "Is anything too wonderful for me?"
So Abraham trusted what God said more than what his eyes could see. And he believed.

from Jesus Storybook Bible

sometimes you think you're teaching your kids. but really God is teaching YOU.

praying we'd believe God for more than what our eyes can see today.

Monday, September 8, 2014

friday night lights

{does any one else miss that show as much as we do??? it was so good!}

we signed joshua, lincoln and sawyer up for flag football this fall. and all their games are on friday NIGHTS! frees up our saturdays! whoo-hoo!

lincoln and sawyer are on the SAME TEAM. score! and super cute!
they had their first games this past friday. game at 5:30 pm. had to be there ( 30 min away) at 4:30 pm. 100 degrees out. :/ but they were SO stinking excited. so we were, too!

they are by FAR the smallest on their team. and most of the kids have played before. but thanks to their big brother they for SURE know what's going on out there.
and they held their own just fine!
BIG win. and tons of fun all around.

joshua's game was at 9:30 pm. i stayed home and let the little boys go to sleep after a BIG first week of school and all. and got to hang out with my parents after they brought the girls home. and then hear about joshua's first game when he got home.

we really look forward to watching our boys play this fall!

bailey's 9th birthday

this girl is one fun thing to celebrate!! we had to get a bit creative. her birthday was on a friday (fun!) of the first week of school (everyone was exhausted :/) and 3 of the boys had their first football games that night taking up our WHOLE afternoon/evening (yikes!).

we started her birthday with donuts all around!
 after i grocery shopped for the upcoming week, lincoln, levi and i went and ate lunch with her at school. i dressed up...just for her :-)


THEN. grandma and papa came to the rescue!! they took the girls out to dinner to celebrate both of their birthdays...while i did the football games.
 the next morning, we celebrated bailey's birthday as a family...after a special breakfast of chocolate chip scones (her request).

 i got this card for her in june at seaside :-) it's SO perfect for her!
 this. oh my goodness. a couple months ago she saw this dress in target. has mentioned it ever since. THANKfully, i bought it that day (on the sly!) that she first saw it! it was the ONLY one in her size. isn't her expression priceless??
 then we lived our day saturday. full of chores and playing and saturday "stuff."

then i surprised her with a key lime pie that night. she doesn't like cake. or cookies. but LOVES key lime pie. i didn't make it. but i did think of it and get it :-) she loved it!
 singing to her!
 her expressions...(thinking of her wish)

 it was such a fun weekend celebrating this girl!! (she has asked for a gymnastics mat for 2 years. every christmas and birthday. we finally got it. and so far it's a HIT!)
and the birthday bonanza is OVER! whew! don't even TALK to me about christmas...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

i'm trying...

to embrace this.

so far no one has added anything...we all miss summer.